As lipless crankbaits go, there is none more synonymous with the genre on the whole than the Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap. One of the early pioneers in this bait category, Bill Lewis’s lipless offering has risen to a place in the bass fishing world where the term ‘trap’ is as encompassing of all other lipless crankbaits as Coke is of all dark fizzy soda. And now, they are becoming well known for squarebills like the Bill Lewis ATV Squarebill.
When you’re known so well for one bait however, your company can become pigeonholed into being thought of as a one trick pony. In recent years, Bill Lewis has broken out of that mold and introduced several quality hard baits, working with the likes of Major League Fishing Pro Mark Daniels Jr, Elite Series Pro Brock Mosley and other professional anglers to create some top quality lures in other genres. One of the latest creation in this lineup is the ATV Squarebill.
Available in three sizes
The Bill Lewis ATV Squarebill is the third bait in the square-bill genre to come from this storied manufacturer. The first iteration of a Bill Lewis squarebill, the Echo 1.75, garnered a respectable fanbase. But the SB-57, the company’s second shot at this market space, was and is as good as any other midsize, shallow-running crankbait available, and it has become one of my personal favorites.
Building on what they’ve learned through these first two creations, Bill Lewis spawned their most versatile lineup of shallow running crankbaits yet in the ATV Squarebill.
The ATV is available in the three sizes:
- 1.0 – 2-inch, 1/4-ounce, dives 2-4 feet
- 1.5 – 2 1/4-inch, 1/2-ounce, dives 3-6 feet
- 2.5 – 2 3/4 inch, 5/8-ounce, dives 3-6 feet
The 1.0 measures 2 inches, weighs 1/4 ounce and dives 2 to 4 feet deep. The 1.5 is a touch larger, at 2 1/4 inches and 1/2 ounce, diving 3 to 6 feet. And the 2.5 measures 2 3/4 inches while weighing in at 5/8 ounce and diving 3 to 6 feet.
A squarebill for any situation
The ATV in this squarebill’s name is shorthand for All Terrain Vehicle, implying this squarebill is specifically designed to do it all. Equipped with a heavy duty lip design, the ATV Squarebill is perfectly suited to be beaten and banged off any type of hard cover you can find, while still being at home out in open water or in submerged vegetation.
When you factor in the three size options, and the 12 color choices available in each size, there’s a squarebill in the ATV lineup for any type of shallow cover situation. Looking to mimic crawfish in the spring?
There are four craw colors, including bright red options in the Firetruck Craw and Red Glitter Craw. Looking for something a little more realistic to imitate shad in clear water? Try to the translucent Ghost Minnow or Green Gizzard. Need something for stained to muddy situations? They’ve got you covered from a paled out Oyster color to the tried and true Chartreuse Shiner.
Quality hooks out of package
Bill Lewis went with premium Mustad Triple Grip hooks for the ATV Squarebill lineup. The hook sizes vary based on which of the three bait sizes you go with, with each hook size selection being maxed out according to the size of each bait, to maximize the hookup ratio.
Triple Grip style hooks are the best selection for squarebills (as well as lipless crankbaits) since bass are often able to inhale smaller baits like these entirely into their mouths. Round bend hooks sometimes work better for baits that fish simply swat at, like topwaters.
But for a squarebill, there’s no better hook design than the Mustad Triple Grip and others like it that incorporate three EWG (Extra Wide Gap) bend hooks into a treble hook frame.
Fishing experience with ATV Squarebills
I spent my time testing out the 1.5 size of the ATV Squarebill. It’s comparable in size to most of the other “standard” size squarebills, like the Strike King 1.5 for example. The 1.5 performed as advertised, coming through rocky and woody cover without issue. As squarebills go, this is a good one and lives up tot he high standard set by several of the other Bill Lewis baits.
With a faint single rattle, this isn’t a silent squarebill. But it’s not a loud one-knock style bait either, nor does it sound like some of Bill Lewis’s lipless baits with multiple small beads. It kind of creates its own lane in this regard. The premium Mustad Triple Grip trebles are a big selling point, not needing to be replaced like the stock hooks on several other comparable squarebills.
The prices of the ATV Squarebills vary based on size, with the smaller 1.0 retailing for $7.99 and the two larger 1.5 and 2.5 versions both listed for $9.99. This means the price point is right there with other quality squarebills, even lower than some.
This isn’t necessarily a squarebill that will replace all others, but it wasn’t really designed to be either. It was instead designed to be a squarebill that can be used in any situation. And Bill Lewis did achieve that goal with the advent of their latest hard lure creation, the ATV Squarebill series.
You can find these squarebills at the following online retailers: